Love · Perspective · Uncategorized

Question of the Day – No. 81

What is one decision that changed your life?

**To respect myself enough to not be controlled by others.

I did that once in high school. It bordered on emotional and verbal abuse… honestly, it jumped the line… I wasn’t allowed to hang out with my female friends. I wasn’t allowed to have male friends. I was isolated, chastised and degraded. I was disrespectfully treated as an object.

When that relationship ended (thank goodness high school doesn’t last forever!) and I rose thru the fog I’d been living in, I remember telling myself I would never date someone who didn’t let me have friends, talk to other people, or live outside his control. My sisters and best friend from high school still can’t say his name without cursing. It’s been almost 20 years.

What I learned from that experience is too much to fit in a blog entry or even a series of entries. I also prefer most of the details to remain anonymous. I don’t need to relive that. My biggest takeaway though is this:

To forgive myself for my choices, I had to forgive too. To move past despising that section of my life, I had to let my hard feelings go. 

Pointless Overthinking

What decision you made changed your entire life?

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Family · Parenting · Perspective · Uncategorized

Baseball- Iron Pigs and Royals

We are at the midway point of baseball season for both kids. I’ve been driving around with a bucket of balls, a bag of batting helmets and catchers gear, my son’s baseball bag, my daughter’s glove and bat, and lawn chairs for almost two months! It’s a good feeling!

I wrote this earlier this week. To watch the amount of care and enthusiasm from the volunteer coaches and zeal for the game from the kids is overwhelming. It makes my throat choke up and my eyes start to water. So so good.

Observations from our 2 hours of back to back 100 degree practices last night for girls Rotary and boys Lions Club baseball:

1) Teammates encouraging each other in times of celebration and when the pitch, hit, or catch was missed.
2) Enjoyment on the faces of the kids for every ball stopped and each connection of the bat.
3) Kids who might not sit together at the lunch table or hang together at recess playing together as a team.
4) Constructive guidance and correction being given by coaches to help the kids grow in sportsmanship and skill.
5) Amazing family & friend volunteers and fans in the stand. They show up because they care.
6) A little girl doing a backbend bridge over first base between drills. Yes, there are a lot of cartwheels, hand stands, and twirls in little girl baseball.

These are fantastic programs available for the kids. The girl’s program is completely free and the boy’s program is $10 or you have the option of selling tickets to the pancake day event to cover the fee.

This what I see every week when we come to practice. Thank you community for all that you do to support it. Come watch a game! It’s free fun! ⚾

#baseball #volunteers #kids #letthemplay #besupportive

*Photography of the Iron Pigs by my 5yr old. Miss M up at the plate.*

 

Perspective · Uncategorized

Courtesy

I’m a SUPER optimist. I solve problems or at least try to find a way to process and improve them.

However – I’m starting to believe that common courtesy is becoming less common…

The point of all of this is: If you make an appointment with someone, KEEP IT.

My husband and I own and operate a small business with two other full-time employees. We started this business from scratch straight out of college. Short of the couple of years I taught high school physical science/ physics classes and while I was on maternity, we’ve worked together in the office full-time.

As is frequently the case, one of us has to go somewhere to pick up or deliver parts, machinery, or trips for the deposit. We have to physically leave the office. This puts all the office responsibilities in the lap of the other person. Today, it’s my lap.

I have a list of people that are scheduled to come by, a list of phone calls to return, am manning the phone, and updating the advertising and web.

Here’s the rub. When you make an appointment to meet someone, usually you try to show up early or be prompt. 10 minutes can still an acceptable grace period if you can’t be exactly on time or early as long as it isn’t a medical appointment and you’ve called to say you are running late. When it’s over the noon hour, aka lunch, the courteous thing to do is to call if you aren’t going to make it near your appointment time.

giphy5I’ve been working on various odd jobs around my desk for 1 1/4hrs now thinking how delicious my lunch will be- the salad that I accidentally left at home and plan to get as soon as I’m done with this customer. It only takes 10 minutes to get home, unlock the house, grab the food, and be back.

However, wouldn’t it be rude if I wasn’t here in the office when that customer shows up?

So I wait.

In this current world where everyone wants everything NOW, at this very moment, would it hurt to show a little courtesy when they are going to delay others?

Let’s treat others how we’d like to be treated. Make that courtesy phone call if you are running behind. Remember, small business owners like to eat lunch too.   🙂

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Family · Perspective · Uncategorized

Tornado

Last night was fairly eventful for our ‘neck of the woods.’

Tornado Footage

We knew it likely would be. While the spring has so far been quiet, the bulls-eye for severe weather was directly on us yesterday.

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The clouds fired up, as predicted, around 3pm. We scurried to get vehicles and lawn items put away and outdoor projects wrapped up. The bus dropped the kids off as the clouds began to darken.

We sporadically checked the weather radar to see where the most severe parts of the coming storm were located. What trajectory did the strongest part of the clouds have? Is it necessary to go to the basement?

To the north, there were 80mph winds and large hail.

To the south, wall clouds, tornadoes, heavy rain and hail.

Our wheat fields down by my parent’s house had enough hail to change the ground from green to white. An already delayed harvest due to the drought and cold was just stripped by hail…

Fortunately at our home, we had only a brief few minutes of pea-sized hail and a couple of inches of much needed rain. For as rough as the night was around us, our end result was positive due to the drought-ending moisture. 

My children observed all the weather with their faces glued to the south windows wearing only their pajamas and underwear. Obviously we weren’t too worked up about the direction the tornadic parts were moving. It was all at least 15 minutes- as the crow flies- from where we live. My 8yr old and I broke up the weather excitement by trading readings from Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends.

I wouldn’t say that I have a fear of severe storms anymore. As a child, I’d hyperventilate when we had to go to the cellar in the middle of the night. Now. Meh. I’ve seen tornadoes in person. They’ve been close. Mercifully and miraculously, most tornadoes on track to hit us have pulled back up into the clouds. Churning and twisting above us, we’ve never lost more than the chimney cap and some trees.

I have respect for Mother Nature and her fury.

When we are in the direct path, we take the proper precautions and hit the basement cement shelter, fully dressed, with a flashlight until the all clear is given. We don’t stand outside and watch when it’s go time. That’s just plain ridiculous. Homes were hit and destroyed, but I’m relieved to say that there were no injuries or fatalities due to these storms last night. Likely because they were ridden out in storm shelters and basements like they should be. (I’m looking at you crazy storm chaser tourist people! Yes, it’s a real thing.)

As for that, as a trained weather spotter was giving their news report from the safety of their vehicle, we watched a couple of stupid silly people standing out next to a road sign taking pictures of the storm. Not in their car. Not in a building. Out in the open. Basically wearing a sign that says “Strike me dead. I’m the tallest thing out here.” Take it from a person who’s lived in Tornado Alley her whole life: that’s a great way to get hit by lightning.

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One thing is for certain. We have broken the seal on severe weather season for 2018. Game on.

 

 

Perspective · Uncategorized

Spring in the Midwest – USA

If you follow my blog, you’ll have gathered previously that I live in a “fly-over” state. Miles of cropland, small towns, and tall concrete grain elevators dot the landscape. Rolling gradual hills and small creeks, gravel and dirt roads, and limestone fences posts are the view.

We are on a rollercoaster this spring. Depths of winter to the heights of spring, then back down to winter, then back up to spring.

Today, I have the office door open. It’s beautiful and sunny out. Our high is forecasted as 89 degrees F. I can hear birds. The air smells fresh. Our Bradford pear tree is trying to bloom.

When winter comes in again tomorrow night, it will feel like a villain with icy teeth and a cackling windy laugh. It will shrivel the spring plants that have just emerged. Children and parents at the soccer fields Saturday morning will hide in their cars between games. Teeth chattering, they’ll brave the cold to cheer and play. We’ll do the same on Sunday afternoon for our baseball scrimmage.

tempThis is our week’s forecast April 12-18.

Without the lows, I wouldn’t appreciate the highs. Right?

Right?????

I’ll just keep telling myself that.

Summer will come eventually and sweltering heat will settle on us. We’ll all be wishing for the crispness of cooler weather.

And so keep riding the rollercoaster of seasons in the Midwest.

Family · Love · Perspective · Uncategorized

Goodbye

Tough tough week.

Amongst the normal chaos of trying to be places on time with stacked meetings and schedules, there was also projectile vomiting, water spraying a basement wall, and having to say goodbye to our cat.

I always kind of scoffed at the idea that a pet could bring out such deep feelings of grief. I lost a lot of cats and dogs growing up on the farm. As my sister pointed out, having a pet for 15 years- daily feeding, brushing, petting, snuggling, interacting at every point for 1.5 decades- makes that animal more than a pet. It makes him family.

He was stress relief for my husband after a long day and late night company after the kids and I had cashed it in for the evening. He was wordless comfort when my  husband experienced the loss of loved ones.

He was always on the floor or furniture right next to the kids. In the middle of our Candyland board game, sticking his head over the edge of their infant/toddler chairs when they were little, being ‘accessorized’ by my little girl- tolerant and engaged. Touching them with his nose to check on them. Licking their hand or forehead to say “you are my kids.”

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He was my early morning reading partner. Although I wasn’t a big fan of the indoor cat idea, I grew protective and wanted him safe from the plethora of outdoor threats.

He never had enough fight in him to keep him alive outside. 13 years ago, my father-in-law found him half dead in the yard with a nacho Doritos chip bag stuck on his head. Presumably, he was trying to get the last cheesy crumb. Tugging the end of his tail softly brought him down and he’d just lay there looking peeved.

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He was adamant about his small feedings three to four times a day. Voicing his frustration if we missed one, he would expect a bonus feeding later to make it up.

All the way to the very end he was social and loving. After his initial trip to the vet for his diagnosis and return home, his first instinct was to go find the kids. He searched their bedrooms for them and then assumed his place in the sun until they walked in the door from school.

We spent our last evening and morning gently and genuinely loving on him. It was clear that he wouldn’t have much more time before we needed to take him back in to the vet. He had quickly dehydrated (complete kidney failure). I’m grateful we were able to say our goodbyes and provide him that pain-free care.

Rest easy. We miss you.

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I didn’t mean to make this a long post, nor a sad one. This is part of life. It is a blessing to be able to love a person or a pet. It is a gift to love and be loved.

Much love this week-  Jen

Family · Perspective · Uncategorized

Fall Drive

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Today the cattle are being driven the four miles back to the farm from the hills.

We don’t actually ‘drive’ them. They walk. We don’t push or get aggressive. The mamas know the path. Their bellies sway as they plod down the dirt roads. The babies push along in slow groups or stick close to their mamas.

90 minutes of slow and steady. They are back for the winter.

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